Car powers off randomly

Tiny
SYY
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA
Electrical problem 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 57,000 miles

Hello, I've had a vw jetta 1.8t for about a year and basically what will happen, is, randomly the car will completely shut off, tachometer is idling correctly. It normally shuts off when coming to a complete stop, but has done it while driving at about 40mph, (when shuts off while driving, it does not completely shut off, it kinda resets the power in a way, all lights everything turns off and then powers back on and car run normal)

After the car completely shuts off, it may start right back up, it may take a few minutes, but then starts up no problems, (during this time when I turn the key and it doesn' start, nothing happens, does not try to turn over, no sound, nothing, even emergency flashers won't come on).

In addition to this strange loss of power, tripometer and clock reset. It does this more often with the ac on, but has done it also when the ac was off. It has done this when the engine is cold or hot, Overall, my interior, dash and outside lights flicker practically all the time. I have a feeling this issue is connected somehow.

Now for what i've done to try and fix this, first off ive taken it to the dealer, spent 400$ and they remvoed an aftermarket alarm that was already in it and the lo-track gps they put on their sold cars and rewired everything,
About a week later, it started doing the same thing. I figured it may have been an issue with the lock on my door, since I lock and relock my door a lot. So I took it back to the dealer, they could not duplicate my issue.
They tested everything on it, fuse box, alternator, battery, everything. They said they may need to keep a few days, but felt they're was nothing wrong, or had anything to do with what they fixed. I thru out my theory about the door lock and they said don't lock it and see what happens.
Well, for about 3 months nothing did, car ran fine, never powered off, even lights stopped flickering, But the gremlins came back, same issue, keep in my mind I have not been locking it.
I will be taking to dealer soon, but thought I would ask anyone, if they had any ideas, battery and alternator were checked recently so they are good, any help would be appreciated

p.S. Sorry for the wall of text, issue is too complex to make long story short.
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Sunday, May 9th, 2010 AT 6:32 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
JETJET
  • MEMBER
I had a similar problem with my 1999 Jetta. I would be driving and the car would just lose power. Usually the car would not start afterwards, and I had to tow it twice but both times the car started up fine without any work done. It stumped many repairmen with the problem, but finally a guy figured it out. The electrical system would short out when it got moisture on it. A simple tune up seemed to fix the problem and it hasn't lost power since. Not sure if this will help you at all! Good luck!
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Monday, July 5th, 2010 AT 2:43 PM
Tiny
REZAH1019
  • MEMBER
Got it fixed last thursday, the problem was with a short with the 12v power supply in the trunk. Somehow moister got in there and wa s shorting the power cord. Once I cleaned it, the problem has gone away.
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Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 AT 10:58 AM
Tiny
SMITSE5
  • MEMBER
I have been having the same problem with my manual Jetta. During warm, humid months, the car is powering off while driving. If I take it out of gear, the lights will sometimes dim and the clock will reset along with the trip meter and the radio and AC will go off. While driving, the car will go back into gear and continue when this happens. If I am unfortunately at a light or stop sign and the problem happens, I have to completely turn the key off and then re-crank. During that time, the interior lights turn on and the radio will eject the CD.

It is currently in the shop with "unknown electrical" problems and I am thinking the problems sound similar to other posts I have seen. It is now at the third dealership with this problem. Nobody has been able to find the problem yet and we are hoping that 3rd time's the charm. Anyone who has information
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Thursday, August 12th, 2010 AT 4:52 PM
Tiny
ROCA75
  • MEMBER
Did someone find a solution to this problem? I did the tune up to my 2003 jetta and it improves significantly, but after one month all the symptoms came back again gradually. Any idea?
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Friday, February 18th, 2011 AT 7:42 PM
Tiny
SYY
  • MEMBER
Yes Its been a while since I posted this problem, But I did find a solution, It may not fix it for everyone, but ive had no more problems since doing it, All I did was take the connectors off the battery for 15 mins, put them back on and "voila" no more car powering off out of the blue. Im guessing the computer resets when this is done or something, but it totally fixed it. Sorry, I didnt post my solution sooner. Hope it helps for someone. Crazy VWs!
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Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 AT 4:41 AM
Tiny
TRAVISMCCLEARY
  • MEMBER
I have had the same problems. Mine started when a penny was dropped into the push lighter and shorted out the car. I thought it was the big thick red cable that goes into the fuse box on top of the battery since it was burnt up. I called a few auto electric techs and took it to my local midas and nobody knew what was going on.

So now I am going to take to get that fuse cable fixed and leave the connectors off for 15min. See what happens.

Thanks
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Thursday, October 18th, 2012 AT 4:42 PM
Tiny
KIRKUDIAN333
  • MEMBER
I had the same problem my car will loose power or shut down
Especially when AC was on. No lights will come up only
Abs light for a min. Then it would be off.
I did some research so what I did was.
Clean the throttle body with throttle body cleaner fluid,
Replace air filter, if you take it to a mechanic
it should not cost you more then 40-80 bucks.
Hope it works for some of you who are having the same problem.
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Thursday, October 15th, 2015 AT 4:44 PM

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